Tax poll: Is the middle class paying too much?
April 15th, 2014
01:12 PM ET
4 years ago

Tax poll: Is the middle class paying too much?

(CNN) - Just under half of all Americans (49%) believe the middle class pays too much in taxes, according to a new Gallup survey released Tuesday, the deadline for income earners to file their tax returns.

That level is up from 42% last year and marks the highest number since 1999, when 59% felt the middle class was dishing out more cash to the government than needed.

The uptick over the past year comes after Congress and President Barack Obama let the so-called Bush tax cuts expire last year, meaning the tax rate for 2013 income increased to 39.6% from 35%. The tax hike affected individuals making more than $400,000 and households making at least $450,000.

Capital gains taxes and payroll taxes have also increased.

The Gallup survey indicates there's been little change in the number of those who believe the wealthiest people give up too much of their paycheck. Thirteen percent feel that way this year, compared to 11% last year, according to the poll.

Rather, a strong majority (61%) feel that the nation's highest income earners pay too little, while 24% believe they pay their fair share.

As for those whose income falls in low tax brackets, 41% of Americans say lower-income earners pay too much in taxes, while 33% say they pay their fair share and 23% believe they don't pay enough.

Not surprisingly, there's a partisan split in attitudes about taxes, according to the survey. Forty percent of Republicans say lower-income people pay too little in taxes, compared to 11% of Democrats.

When it comes to top income earners, 21% of Republicans–who traditionally lobby for low taxes in general–say the nation's wealthiest are paying too much in taxes. Interestingly, a plurality of Republicans (45%) say upper-income people pay too little in taxes.

Five percent of Democrats say the wealthy pay too much, while 76% believe they pay too little.

And in a trend that's changed little over the past decade, two-thirds of Americans believe corporations don't pay enough in taxes. Twenty percent think they pay the right amount, while 8% think they pay too little.

Gallup interviewed 1,026 adults by telephone from April 3-6. The overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Polls • Taxes
soundoff (39 Responses)

    @ Fair is Fair
    Tampa Tim

    My rate is higher than what Mittens pays.
    Did you pay millions like "Mittens" did? If not, you have no arguement.

    April 15, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |

    Oh, so you submitted a FOIA request to the IRS about Romney? Please tell us how you know how much Romney paid. You have a tendency to be an apologist for the GOP without citing credible sources. Your blather is quite boring as such. Have a nice day.

    April 15, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |

    Some ppl. are enabled by our government and its not human to treat ppl that way i have some in my family they wouldnt work if you put a fire under them an if they did it would be just to get a check or two cause it would cut into that 700 bucks worth of foodstamps . Something has got to get these ppl motivated . but handouts dont work .

    April 15, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. John

    Tampa Tim
    John – Demorcrats will have you taking home 30% of your pay? Kind of a stretch for even a wingnut.

    Really? There have been people in here clamoring for a return to the times of the 90% tax rates. Many people are already losing nearly 50% to the government now. 70% is definitely within the Democrats reach, especially when all of the interest on the debt starts consuming the federal budget.

    April 15, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. Dead Bear

    Everybody, no matter what bracket they fall into, thinks they pay too much in taxes. Reality is a different story though... Government services depend on tax revenues and the only difference I can see between the parties is what should get the most funding and who should bear the brunt of paying for it. There is no common sense tax reform on the horizon because nobody in government shows any common sense in this regard... But I will say eliminating tax revenues by lowering rates for the wealthy all the while spending ridiculously on defense has to be the most fiscally irresponsible practice anyone could have ever imagined. The person who enacted that must have have some kind of neurological disorder. Oh wait...

    April 15, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. Tampa Tim

    John – Nope.

    April 15, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  6. Tampa Tim

    Southern Hottie – Please ignore Fair, as she is desperately trying to be cute and clever.

    April 15, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Evidently tea baggers and right wingnuts did not realize they got a payroll tax cut under Obama.

    April 15, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Tampa Tim

    The clamoring you hear is from the I want something for nothing republicans.

    April 15, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Mark DeMark

    What is so silly about these polls, is that they do not question wether the respondent HAS ANY CLUE ABOUT HOW MUCH IN TAXES A GROUYP ACTUALLY PAYS!! That is, most Americans have no clue that the top 1% of earners pay ~ 20% of Federal income taxes, and the Top 20% collectively pay OVER 90% of Federal Individual Income taxes!! That's IRS dat! The bottom 80% only bear 20% of the income tax burden. Thus, if Gallup first asked "How much should;d the top 1% pay?' (and they have in past polls), the answer is most Americans think something like 10% is fair, and that the top 20% should pay something like half. MOST AMERICANS HAVE NO CLUE THAT THE 'RICH' ALREADY PAY MOST OF THE INCOME TAX IN THIS COUNTRY, AND THAT THE "Middle Class" ACTUALLY PAY VERY LITTLE.

    April 15, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. Tom l

    So how much is enough? The top 1% pay 30% of total federal tax pool. How much would you like them to pay?

    April 15, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. The REAL Truth...

    @Fair is Fair –
    Tampa Tim

    My rate is higher than what Mittens pays.
    Did you pay millions like "Mittens" did? If not, you have no arguement.
    Typical cons argument.. silly, it's not about the amount, it's about equitable taxation. If I earn $50 Million and you make $50k, but my nominal rate is 12% and yours is 18%.. I'm SURE going to pay a larger dollar amount than you, but my RATE is 6% LESS than yours.. I'm SAVING $3 MILLION dollars.... must be rough living on the savings alone, eh?
    Fair, you've been drinking the coolaid for far too long..

    April 15, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. jeff

    A per capita tax on a 1.1 trillion dollar budget is about $3,050 with 319 million tax payers. annually. A penny more or a penny less makes it unfair.

    April 15, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Stuffitu

    Obama has proposed over 450 tax increases since the libertard stole the election for him,gas and food prices have doubled, healthcare insurance premiums,deductibles and co pays have soared. Here's the thing the welfare frauds, dopers and corrupt unions don't pay any taxes and the Kenyan village idiot calls anyone who doesn't like it a racist. Try getting into the DOJ or Whit House without an ID card. Hypocrites.

    April 15, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. Tampa Tim

    smith – It is the complete truth. You certainly have enough time to fact check your lies. Clinton balanced the budget too. Lowered the debt and balanced the budget, something a republican could never do.

    April 15, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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